Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

S Reza Kazemi

Well-diggers in the process of digging a deep well of 100 metres in Taimani neighbourhood of Kabul city. Photos: Author, 2018.

Blue Gold: The quest for household water in Kabul city

S Reza Kazemi

Given growing water scarcity and pollution, increasing numbers of residents in Kabul city are struggling to provide enough safe water for their households. Many are forced to turn to the expanding private water business for their needs: eitherby paying for water from mobile water tankers, subscribing to local private water supply companies or buying bottled […]

Economy, Development, Environment Read more
Darb-e Khosh (Happy Gate), a historical gate to Herat city, being rebuilt as part of the young mayor's campaign for urban development. Photo: Said Reza Kazemi

The Battle between Law and Force: Scattered political power and deteriorating security test Herat’s dynamism

S Reza Kazemi

Herat – the affluent and vibrant city in western Afghanistan – is going through a ‘scattering’ of political power and a deterioration in security. While Ismail Khan, the self-styled ‘amir of the west’, is still the preeminent figure, political power is no longer concentrated only in his hands, and the new actors are behaving differently […]

Political Landscape Read more
The road that Maruf and his friends took to start off their odyssey from the shahrak to Vienna. From Herat, it runs all the way to Kabul and destinations such as Nimruz in-between and symbolizes the coming and going of people and goods in the emerging transnational community between the shahrak and Europe. (Source S Reza Kazemi)

Afghan Exodus: Maruf’s tale of an emerging transnational community between Herat and Europe

S Reza Kazemi

Between 2014 and mid-2016, thousands of people left Herat – a major urban centre in western Afghanistan – for various European countries. Since August 2014, Said Reza Kazemi (*) has been tracking Maruf and 24 of his friends and acquaintances, who have made the trip. The case of this young Afghan and his network shows […]

Migration Read more
A view over Herat city from a hill in the Bagh-e Mellat (Nation's Garden) resort – Herat is Musa's hometown, where he saw no future for himself. (Photo Source: Said Reza Kazemi)

Raftan, Raftan: How young Afghans from Herat end up in the Syrian war

S Reza Kazemi

Much has been reported about how Afghan men, mostly young Shias, are being incentivised or coerced by Iran into fighting on the side of the Assad regime in Syria. There has been little study, however, of how exactly they end up in Syria. Said Reza Kazemi (*) has been tracking a 22 year-old Shia Afghan […]

Regional Relations Read more
The men of the Heart of Asia process at their Beijing meeting. Photo: Pajhwok

More bilateral than multilateral effects: The Afghanistan conference in China

S Reza Kazemi

The fourth foreign ministerial conference of the Afghanistan-centred Heart of Asia/Istanbul process in Beijing on 31 October 2014 demonstrated a lack of progress in the regional cooperation in many respects, from its organisation to the funding. Nevertheless, it produced a few, rather mixed, results. These include, at a minimum, developments in Sino-Afghan relations and in Sino-American […]

Regional Relations Read more
Presidents Ghani and Xi, during the former's second trip abroad, after umrah in Saudi Arabia. Photo c/o ToloNews.

On the Road through Beijing (and Kathmandu): The new Afghan leadership’s attempts to engage with Asia

S Reza Kazemi

Compelled by widening economic and other challenges, the new Afghan government seems determined to diversify Afghanistan’s foreign relations by slowly forging stronger economic and political ties with countries in the region. For this purpose, it has at least two cards to play: the country’s geographic position as a corridor for regional trade and its natural […]

Regional Relations Read more

The New Gangs of Herat: How young Afghans turn away from their community

S Reza Kazemi

In the city of Herat, an increasing number of young people drop out of school, form petty gangs, become drug addicts and generally have problems with their community. Many of these youth are also connected to friends abroad with several of them migrating to Iran, Europe and Australia to escape the local community, and recently […]

Context and Culture Read more

Will the ‘Heart of Asia’ start beating? A review of the regional co-operation process

S Reza Kazemi

The dragging-on of the presidential election has also affected regional co-operation on Afghanistan. The Afghan government, supported by the international community, has been attempting to work with regional states towards co-operation on security and development in Afghanistan and its neighbourhood under what is called the ‘Heart of Asia’ or Istanbul process since November 2011. Scheduled […]

Regional Relations Read more

Memorials and Patrons: How northern Afghan elites try to own history

S Reza Kazemi

Elites in Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Balkh province and most important city in the north, have, in recent years, supported the building of new memorials and re-naming of the city’s streets and intersections. They are also sponsoring intellectuals and their literary and artistic output. These are politically driven cultural projects, attempts by the leading […]

Context and Culture Read more

Little Bridges: AAN’s new report on the slowly growing links between Afghanistan and the Central Asia republics

Christian Bleuer S Reza Kazemi

Reports about Afghanistan and its neighbours to the north usually lump the five former Soviet Central Asia republics together as an undifferentiated block  – ‘the Stans’. Such an approach does not reflect the reality of five countries with very different, mainly bilateral and very local relationships with Afghanistan. The distortion has only been worsened by […]

Regional Relations Read more
Photo: Pajhwok

Between Co-operation and Insulation: Afghanistan’s Relations with the Central Asian Republics

S Reza Kazemi Christian Bleuer

The latest AAN report, “Between Co-operation and Insulation: Afghanistan’s Relations with the Central Asian Republics”, by Christian Bleuer and Said Reza Kazemi, looks at the state of Afghanistan’s relationships to the former Soviet republics of Central Asia to the north. The authors look at the multi- and bilateral cooperation on various levels and from both […]

Special Reports Read more

Dividing the Field: Who shapes the electoral landscape in a Herat township – and how?

S Reza Kazemi

In Herat, elders have divided a township into areas supporting different presidential contenders. They are motivated by financial and other benefits and a desire to end up on the winning side in any case. But they are also divided, mainly along political party lines. This heralds the coming of potentially highly contested presidential and provincial […]

Political Landscape Read more